Dietary fat and obesity as modulators of breast cancer risk: Focus on DNA methylation

Micah G. Donovan, Spencer N. Wren, Mikia Cenker, Ornella I. Selmin, Donato F. Romagnolo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer and second leading cause of cancer mortality in women worldwide. Validated biomarkers enhance efforts for early detection and treatment, which reduce the risk of mortality. Epigenetic signatures have been suggested as good biomarkers for early detection, prognosis and targeted therapy of BC. Here, we highlight studies documenting the modifying effects of dietary fatty acids and obesity on BC biomarkers associated with DNA methylation. We focus our analysis on changes elicited in writers of DNA methylation (i.e., DNA methyltransferases), global DNA methylation and gene-specific DNA methylation. To provide context, we precede this discussion with a review of the available evidence for an association between BC incidence and both dietary fat consumption and obesity. We also include a review of well-vetted BC biomarkers related to cytosine-guanine dinucleotides methylation and how they influence BC risk, prognosis, tumour characteristics and response to treatment. Linked Articles: This article is part of a themed section on The Pharmacology of Nutraceuticals. To view the other articles in this section visit

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1331-1350
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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